Sunday, August 31, 2014

Chatham Cocktail:






  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. ginger brandy (vodka)
  • 1 tsp. sugar.

Dissolve sugar in lemon juice in a shaker. Add ice, gin, and ginger liqueur. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with candied ginger.

For this classic cocktail, I chose to use Ransom pre-prohibition gin. It made the drink taste richer and more like a cordial that it would have had I used a London dry gin. Experiment and enjoy this recipe. The Chimes ginger candy was a very good call and really paired well with the richness of the gin.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Raspberry Bourbon Punch

video

To go along with my last post on shaking versus muddling, I am including a video of me making a raspberry bourbon iced tea drink that uses the shaking technique to break up fruit in the shaker before straining the drink into a glass of ice. This makes the drink come out the perfect size because you are only filling the glass with liquid—no ice overflows. You will also see that the drink is pink with no raspberry seeds floating in it. This is the desired effect—a drinkable tea without a fruit salad in the glass. Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 1/2—2 oz. bourbon
  • 6 oz. iced black tea
  • 4-6 raspberries.
Combine raspberries, a tablespoon of simple syrup, bourbon and black tea in a shaker full of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a highball glass full of ice. Raspberry garnish optional.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Shaking Techniques


Shaking:

There is a time to shake and a time to stir. Shaking breaks up the ice cubes into the alcohol. It rapidly cools the drink and also waters it down. If you or your guests like to enjoy a cold Martini, by all means shake. Keep in mind that a watered down Martini still contains the same amount of alcohol as it did before shaking but the alcohol taste will not be as strong. Likewise if the drink is very cold, it will also make it harder to detect the flavors. This is a good thing in most Martini recipes because the original Martini was a pretty harsh drink that you’d want to finish before it warmed up.

Stirring Versus Shaking:

Some drinkers really like to taste more of the alcohol. They don’t want to see ice crystals floating on the top of their Martinis or Manhattans. They will request a stirred cocktail—not as cold or watered down, which is called “bruising” A liquor like gin or whiskey is called “bruised” when the flavor profile (the botanicals in the gin or the combination of malt and oak in whiskey) is spaced-out with water. A cocktail that is shaken with too little ice or for too long will be less interesting to a drinker who wants to experience the tightly-packed flavor of a quality gin or the subtly blended whiskey. Usually “bruising” is not a problem with vodka since the point of vodka is to be as flavorless as possible, but some drinkers still don’t like the pieces of ice that break off of the cubes as a result of vigorous shaking.

Shaking Versus Muddling:

Some fruits are so soft that it isn’t necessary to muddle them. Just the action of shaking raspberries, blackberries, orange wheels, or any assortment of jellies or cranberry relish on ice with alcohol will be enough to break down these soft fruits and get you the result you need—a fruit-infused liquor that is cold. This is especially important when you intend to strain off the ice and fruit and pour the liquor into a cocktail glass. Muddling in this case would crush the fruit into such fine particles that you would be unable to prevent pouring peels and seeds into the cocktail glass. Simply shaking instead of muddling makes it easier to strain a liquor clear of the ingredients you used to flavor it.

Tips For A Good Shake:

Fill the shaker to the top for drinks that require straining. You want to get the liquor as cold as possible for drinks like Martinis. If you are going to pour all the contents of the shaker into a glass, it might be best to build the drink in the glass you will use first before transferring it to the shaker. This way you won’t have too much ice and liquid to fit in the glass when you are done shaking. Shake rapidly (up and down, or toward you and away) keeping the motion of the ice mostly vertical within the shaker. One shake is a combined up-down motion; do this between 10 and 15 times until the outside of the shaker feels frosty. Shaking any more than this breaks up the ice unnecessarily and can weaken the drink. Then pour, strain. garnish and enjoy.

Muddling Techniques


Muddling:
 
When I first started bartending I overused the muddler. It turns out that some drinks are more attractive when the herbs or fruit you put in them are not pulverized. When you make a sangria, you want to see wheels of fruit in the glass; when you use strawberry slices and mint leaves, the drink is more attractive when bits look uniform rather than a clump of mush.

When To Muddle:

When the point of adding fruit, vegetables and herbs to a drink is to take advantage of the oils within their cell walls, you want to muddle them. If the produce that goes into a drink is meant to be consumed, it is best to leave the bits in bite sized chunks in the glass. If you intend to add juice of the same fruit anyway, it is probably not necessary to bother with muddling, but in drinks like Mojitos it is advisable to press the lime wedges to get as much juice out of them rather than adding extra lime juice and risk making the drink too sour.

How To Muddle:

1. Add your produce and some syrup.
Simply mashing your produce into the glass by itself often doesn’t work unless it is a soft fruit like a peach or orange slices. It is always best to add a little liquid to absorb as much of the juice or oils you release on muddling. I recommend adding the produce and then covering the melange with simple syrup or agave nectar (if you want the drink to be sweet), citrus juice or lime syrup (if you want a tart drink), and even olive juice (if you are making a briny drink like a variation of a Dirty Martini).

2. Press hard and twist.
The proper muddling technique is a downward push on the muddler handle and a twisting motion that grinds the bits with the muddler’s teeth. Press the contents of the glass in the center and rotate outward using the sides of the glass as well as the base as a pestle.

3. Build your drink on top.
Add all the other ingredients including ice, alcohol and mix-ins. You can stir or shake the drink as directed. Make sure all ingredients are evenly mixed or you risk having a layered drink that is at times too bland or too strong.

4. Pour or strain.
Some drinks—especially Martini variations—require that the muddled ingredients, including the ice, be strained off so that the cocktail glass is filled only with cold alcohol and the juices produced by the muddling. A muddled berry drink when strained into a cocktail glass may have a pink hue, but it will still be clear without peels or seeds. That is the look you are going for with “up” drinks. With other drinks like a Mint Julep, it is perfectly fine to use the ice and muddled mixture in the final product. This will make for a cocktail that is more flavorful and interesting to look at in a Collins or rocks glass.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ginger Julep



This is not exactly an original creation, but it is also not a classic either. The Ginger Julep is similar to a drink served at my restaurant, except I substitute my homemade ginger vodka for a ginger liqueur.
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. ginger vodka or liqueur

Muddle 8-10 mint leaves and two lemon wheels with simple syrup.
add 1 1/2 oz. vodka and 1/2 oz. ginger vodka. Shake over ice and pour into a highball glass. Top with club soda and garnish with a lemon wheel.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Far East Punch


  • 2 oz. of dark rum
  • 1 oz. ginger infused vodka
  • 4 oz. pineapple juice
Pour all ingredients over ice and stir in a Shaker pint glass. Garnish with a cherry and orange wheel or an umbrella.

Four Gingers




As Promised, Ginger Vodka Recipes Shared With Friends

Yesterday I made a 100-proof vodka infusion using fresh ginger that I grated into a pot of steaming vodka. The decoction retains all the fresh flavor of ginger and most of its alcoholic potency. Now I am trying out new drink recipes I am coming up with. I also intend to substitute my ginger vodka for ginger brandy in classic cocktails like the Ginger Snap and Chatham Cocktail. Here’s what I tried today!
Four Gingers (Above)
  • 1 1/2  oz. 2 Gingers Irish whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. Ginger vodka
Stir on ice. Add lemon wheel and top with ginger beer.
(Note: The glass says Irish Cream. The drink contains none but the glass is appropriately Irish for this drink.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Vodka Infusions: Ginger



Ok, folks. Last night I was making Thai food and had a little leftover raw ginger to work with. I also had a lot of 100-proof vodka. It dawned on me that if I had a ginger flavored liquor, I could make a number of spicy drinks without having to water down a cocktail with ginger beer. Here’s how to do it at home.

1. Grate a peeled piece of raw ginger (about 2 inches long).
2. Heat ginger and 2-4 cups of vodka in covered saucepan to 160 degrees.
3. Let stand to cool. Filter vodka through a fine screen to remove ginger bits.
4. Store in a clean, airtight bottle.





It’s an easy way to make a great tasting liquor that costs less than specialty liqueurs. Soon I will be posting new recipes that use ginger vodka.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Quick Garnish Hack For A Red Pepper




Here’s a quick way to make a roasted red pepper garnish for a cocktail. Burn the outer edge of a piece of pepper over a burner. When it is good and blackened, let it cool a few minutes before scraping off the char with a knife. Cut the piece into ribbons and roll them. Spear the roll with a toothpick or cocktail pick. Drop it into your Martini.







This is a great tasting garnish for gin and vodka drinks because it adds a roasted taste and a little char will float on the top of the glass. You can also wrap onions, blue cheese and olives with the pepper pieces a spice up your usual cocktails

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Blue Sapphire Martini




The End Of Martini Week: Some Thoughts
For some, every week is Martini Week. That seems to be the case here in the Jolly Bartender world where I am often asked by my guests to make something they have never had before and that often means a variation on a Martini. I have said before that I am liberal in my definition of “Martini,” but that some drinks are not really a Martini simply because they are in a cocktail glass. The Blue Lady I posted on Friday doesn’t fit my definition of Martini because it contains no gin or vodka and is made of a majority of liqueurs. Still, I featured it because it was expertly made by another bartender who attended Thursday’s class.

I will however end Martini Week with a true Martini, and one that in my opinion is visually most appealing to have with a bottle of Bombay Sapphire on hand.

Blue Sapphire Martini
  • 3 oz. Bombay Sapphire gin
  • 1/4 oz. blue curacao
Shake on ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist and rim glass with lemon juice.

The Jolly Bartender On The Purpose Of The Blog
Just to be clear to my followers, I want to lay out a few things that are important to me as a bartender and lay aside things that I could care less about when making this blog. The most important thing to me is enjoying myself in whatever I chose to do. If this was a labor that I didn’t enjoy, I wouldn’t do it. As it turns out, making drinks well is a great way to make friends. I’ve found that garnering a reputation as a cocktail chef has helped me bridge social gaps and find common ground between myself and people I normally wouldn’t interact with. We are brought together by a similar love of sharing stories and learning how to make drinks. Now my guests and students, most of whom have always wanted a home bar, say that they feel that they are much closer to finally starting a liquor collection and mixing at home.

That is the other purpose of this blog. I want to help people try drinks they wouldn’t usually order when they are at a bar and to learn to make drinks they like, but I am also offering a guide to starting a home bar and shortcuts to making a versatile bar—one that can make the most number of drinks with as few bottles as possible to keep it affordable and portable. One of the things I will do is recommend inexpensive liquors that get you the most for your dollars. That doesn’t mean I am a cheapskate, I just don’t subscribe to branding and would prefer that my readers use whatever liquor they enjoy most. I just don’t believe that top shelf is always the best choice for hosting parties.

There are some things I care about, quality of ingredients, glassware, affordability, even the attractiveness of packaging or color of liquor. All these things add to the experience. Things I don’t care about include brand loyalty, marketing, ubiquity of liquor, and strictly adhering to tradition. I am not a snob and if it appears that I am providing marketing to top shelf liquors, it is merely by accident. I do find that Martinis are better with the best gin and vodka available, and I don’t always make mixed drinks, preferring a single malt scotch, bourbon, or whiskey neat. Look at my virtual bar— http://www.whiskybase.com/profile/jolly-bartender/collection — it is mostly whiskey. That is my choice as a whiskey drinker and I have tailored my bar to fit the needs of my friends who also drink whiskey or mix with it, and yet it has enough variety to make just about any other drink called for.

One thing I am not about is “The Best______.” I mean I won’t say that there is a best way to make a Martini, or a best ingredient. There are just ways and the difference in these ways reflect the tastes of every individual. While I say I am not brand loyal, I can look at my bar and see that I have repeatedly replaced products by Smirnoff, Sauza, Bombay Sapphire, Black Velvet, Evan Williams very consciously while deliberately buying off-brands at other times. This is just part of my method of adjusting the bar to my needs. I agree that Crown Royal is better Canadian whiskey than other brands, but I hesitate to say anything is “the best” due to my sensitivity to what works with what drink. Even then, it is impossible to claim that one way to do anything is “the best” way.

Readers, when you post recipes or comments, keep this in mind: is the post encouraging creativity and fun and not trying to top what others are doing? This is not a competition—you don’t win a free T-shirt for the most outrageous drink. You’ll notice I chose to repost drinks that others make when I see that the drink is doable for most home bars and uses existing glassware that someone would have at home. My tips for home bartending won’t include using things that are only available at a bar like soda guns and beer taps. I won’t discuss high-volume bartending tricks, keeping my posts limited to small gatherings and home bar maintenance.

Thank you to all who follow the Jolly Bartender or attend classes at my home bar. Spread the word, experiment, and enjoy mixing as a way to enhance life and find friendship.

Cheers!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Commonwealth


  • 4 parts Canadian whisky (2 oz.)
  • 1 part Grand Marnier (1/2 oz.)
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
Shake on ice and strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with orange twist.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bourbon Smash


  • 2 orange wheels
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. ginger liqueur
  • ginger beer

Muddle 2 orange wheels and 8 mint leaves in simple syrup.
Add 2 oz. bourbon. Shake on ice and pour into a julep cup.
Top with ginger beer.

The Blue Lady


Man, we made a lot of drinks that night. I saw one of my guests working on this one and was happy someone was doing a cream drink. I wish the Blue Lady were stronger, but that's all time for another cocktail recipe. Instead, you have here something like a grasshopper but blue instead of green.
  • 5 parts blue Curacao (2.5 oz.)
  • 2 parts creme de cacao (1 oz.)
  • 2 parts half-and-half (1 oz.)
Shake on ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

British Summer Garden



 
  • 1.5 oz. gin
  • .25 oz. lime juice.
  • 3 strawberries
  • 3-5 basil leaves

Muddle 2 strawberries and 6 basil leaves in simple syrup in a shaker
Top with ice and shake. Pour all ingredients in a highball glass.
Top with club soda and garnish with a strawberry.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Russian Rob Roy

If you are in the mood for a light cocktail that has just a hint of scotch without the heaviness of a Rob Roy, try this vodka version. Vodka has the effect of thinning out the scotch without reducing the overall strength of the drink. A lemon twist makes for a refreshing garnish substitute for the usual cherry.



  • 4 parts (2 oz.) vodka
  • 1 part (1/2 oz.) scotch
  • 1 part (1/2 oz.) dry vermouth.
Shake on ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

The Gibson



Tired of your usual olive or twist martinis? Try the Gibson. Many of my bar guests are finding that it fits a craving they didn't know they had. Whoever that Gibson guy was, he has a lot of new fans.

  • 6 parts (3 oz.) vodka or gin
  • 1-2 dashes dry vermouth
  • 4 cocktail onions
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with cocktail onions.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Behold the Martini, King of Cocktails!


  • 6 parts gin (3 oz.)
  • Dry vermouth (1/4 tsp. or less)
  • Cocktail olive (or lemon twist in this case)
New York Bartender’s Guide
No drink in the history of bartending has been so unanimously extolled and yet so frequently made the subject of controversy. The Martini has too many variations to count, and every bartender claims to have the secret to making the perfect Martini. Some recipes even exceed the liberal definition that this bartender allows for the use of the sacred name. Martinis range from shaken or stirred, to olive or lemon (or onion), to dry to wet to dirty, and up or on the rocks. Martinis can even make use of gin or vodka and can include liqueurs like Dubonnet Rouge, Midori, Chambord, Drambuie, and Campari. So what do they all have in common?

Martini purists say that the original Martini was made with gin. Others allow that it is only a Martini if it also includes a percentage of vermouth, no matter how small. I am inclined to agree with the latter since I like a vodka Martini (pictured above) and I agree that scenting a martini with a liqueur is sometimes a excellent way to make a distinguishing flourish on a classic cocktail. Once a Martini strays into using other spirits like rum, whiskey or tequila as the main ingredient, you are stepping on another cocktail’s territory and the drink requires a new name. That is why we have the Manhattan, the Black Dog, and the Cosmo to differentiate between cocktails served up and true Martinis. I tend to draw the line when someone adds a significant portion of non alcoholic fruit juice (cranberry for the aptly named Cosmo and pineapple for the French Martini—which I wouldn’t call a real Martini). To me, a Martini means a stiff (strong) cocktail, and fruit juice defeats this end by watering the drink down. Liqueurs don’t tend to do this and they rarely make up a large percentage of the drink.
That said, Martini originalists are quick to point out that early forms of the drink date back to the American Prohibition when people were accustomed to drinking chilled vermouth straight. Martinis then were mostly vermouth (6 parts vermouth to 3 parts gin) owing to the poor quality of the gin versus the availability of homemade vermouth. The gin was added to give strength to an already potent glass of fortified wine because who knew when your drinking party might be interrupted by the prohibition officers
Martinis nowadays display gin or vodka as their main feature; they are spicy drinks with citrus twists or briny drinks with pickle, onion or olive garnishes. At least with these variations, the drinker has some idea of what to expect. Vermouth is used in smaller and smaller quantities (a single drop in the glass or in the ice before shaking) and is sometimes omitted altogether.

What most bartenders agree on is that a Martini is served cold and consumed quickly to prevent it from warming up. The cocktail glass provides a large surface to allow the drinker to sniff the concoction while drinking, but drinking on the rocks is easier if you need to stand or walk with your drink (or you want to let the ice melt longer and extend your sipping time.) All bartenders should tailor their Martini to the drinker’s specifications.
Ask the following questions before making:

Vodka or gin?
Dry or dirty or sweet?
Up or rocks?
Shaken or stirred?
Olive or twist?

That’s a lot of to talk about, but you don’t want to disappoint. Good bartenders are able to make a Martini the way each individual enjoys them: a good bartender is not someone who only makes one kind of Martini—their own standard of perfection. You’ll end up throwing away a lot of perfect drinks if you do this.

Monday, August 18, 2014

How To Mass Produce Lemon Twists

Having a party? Prepare garnishes in advance.


video





This video shows how to peel and make twists out of lemons.
Boil the lemon for five minutes and allow it to cool. Cut off each end and hollow it out. Cut the peel into a ribbon and roll it up. Poke toothpicks to hold the roll in place. Cut the roll between each toothpick to create each separate garnish.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Straining Muddled Fruit

video

The Pulp-Free Effect of Straining Muddled Fruit

Here’s the Peach Madras I made yesterday in the final steps. Straining removes the pulverized peach flesh and leaves you with a drink that won’t get stuck in your straw or your teeth.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Peach Madras

Start by cutting the peach into wedges.

Muddle the peach in the bottom of the glass or shaker.

Add vodka, cranberry and orange juice.

Garnish with a peach wedge and cherry.

The Peach Madras
Sometimes an idea hits me when I notice I have fresh fruit that I need to use soon. In this case, it was a bag of peaches from the farmers’ market. Can’t let those peaches go bad—all that summer goodness. So I decided to muddle them in an old tried recipe, the Madras.

  • 4 parts vodka (2 oz.)
  • 6 parts cranberry juice (3 oz.)
  • 6 parts orange juice (3 oz.)

It’s a pretty simple and standard cocktail made with stuff most people have around or can get easily. The addition of muddled peach definitely kicked it up and gave that additional summery flavor we love about peaches.

Begin by peeling and slicing the peach into wedges. You will use 2 large wedges for muddling and save one for the garnish. You might want to muddle directly into a shaker so that you can fill a tall glass with ice and strain the drink directly into the glass you are going to drink from.

So I demonstrate the use of a strainer in my next video using this drink to show how straining over fresh ice creates a different kind of drink from a mojito where muddled ingredients end up in the glass you are drinking from. The Peach Madras has no peel or pulp in it and tastes like a cool punch; perfect for enjoying poolside.

Oh. Why is Ganesh hanging out with my drink?
Ganesh = Fresh. Obviously.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Gin


Oh The Possibilities…
TGIF everyone! Today I want to post about the versatility of gin and how to pick a gin for your home bar. (Ideally, I hope you pick several because there’s a lot to enjoy about the differences in gin.) I’ll share tips on getting the best gins for your money and the times when splurging on top-shelf gin is not only acceptable but recommended.
My tips for starting a gin collection for the home bar are as follows:

1 Get a house gin.
Start by finding an inexpensive gin you yourself like and you can use for a variety of drinks when you host. Nothing too fancy for everyday drinks. That is more difficult to do when faced with the variety of gins on the market today, so it is good to at least know the differences in gins.
Gin is generally an unaged, clear spirit that takes its flavors from the botanicals introduced during distillation (a common botanical is juniper, which gives gin the pine tree flavor.) The most common style of gin right now is London dry, a very clean tasting gin with lots of citrus sparkle and less bitterness. There is little difference between an inexpensive and a top-shelf London dry gin except that the pricy London drys use rarer or unique botanicals in their secret recipes. Don’t be deterred, however. Many top-shelf gins have their rail equivalent. Tanqueray, for instance has Gordon’s (named after Tanqueray Gordon) which is a significant savings and a fine gin in its own right. For a house gin, I find it is important to have quantity as well as quality and a low price. I recommend these in 1.75 liter bottles:

Gordon’s

Sir Robert Burnett’s

Seagram’s

These are standard London dry gins without additional flavoring. If you want to pick up a fifth of a unique flavored gin in these brands, go ahead, but you won’t find the same versatility there as you do with the original formulations. (i.e. you can’t make a martini with orange flavored gin.)

2. Get fresh ingredients.
Fresh citrus, olives, herbs and juices are a must for even the basic cocktails. Fresh squeezed oranges are always preferable to concentrate. Mash strawberries and mint in simple syrup before adding gin and soda. Only choose plump and juicy olives, not those rubbery canned ones you use for cooking. The better your garnish, the more enjoyable the drink. Remember, the gin is the base of the drink and the fruit and herbs make it taste fresh. You can cut corners on one ingredient but you can’t do it on all and have a passable cocktail.

3. Pick up a craft gin.
Other styles of gin include Plymouth and Old Tom gins. These are earlier, less refined tasting gins from the early industrial era. Old Tom is sweeter and Plymouth is a style that features strong tasting botanicals beyond the basic juniper and citrus. Both can be either aged in barrels (brown gins) or unaged and clear. These gins open up the the possibility of making historically accurate cocktails from pre-prohibition times—the golden age of cocktails, as it is sometimes called. Try making drinks like the Aviation, the French 75, the Cabaret, or the Negroni with these:
Ranson Old Tom Gin
Plymouth (brand) gin
Green Hat Summer Seasonal Gin

4. Get a martini gin.
You may also enjoy making dry martinis with costlier London dry gins. Consider getting Beefeater or Blue Coat. Try out the difference you taste in your favorite martini when you use Bombay Sapphire vs. Tanqueray 10 (both have ten botanicals). And see if you can detect the cucumber in Hendrick’s.

5. Have fun mixing and tasting.
Just get creative. It is hard to screw up a gin cocktail when gin is the most mixable spirit that has its own distinct flavor (unlike vodka which has no flavor). Gin was my first purchase for my home bar when I started many years ago. Though I leave it aside many times for other spirits, I haven’t grown tired of it yet.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Virtual Bar



I’ve uploaded a virtual bar to Whiskybase.com so everyone can see my collection. Check it out! Of course it only includes whiskey and scotches that I currently have. You’ll notice that I have more than a dozen bargain brands that I use for mixing and that all of my bottles are open. There are only a few gems for collecting here and most are nearly gone. My philosophy is to enjoy drinking the whiskey with friends not to keep it sealed up and gathering dust. You can create your own virtual bar at Whiskybase.com by finding what you have in their database and adding it to your collection. Even better, it has a great map feature to help you find distillers and stores!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gin Sour with Poe’s Sour Mix

Gin Sour with Poe’s Sour Mix




I don’t usually use sour mix anymore, but there are times when it is necessary when mixing for a crowd. This is the best one I’ve tried. It really is Phantastic!


  • 1 1/2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. sour mix
  • Garnish with lemon wheels

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Make Your Own Simple Syrup

This video will show you how to make sugar and water into a thick simple syrup to sweeten your Mojitos and cocktails.

video

Monday, August 11, 2014

Salander's Smile

The Steig Larson novel character, Lisbeth Salander, was the inspiration for this drink.

  • 2 oz. Absolut vodka
  • 1/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. cranberry juice
  • 1 oz. Cherry Heering
Shake on ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the peel of a lemon wheel (in the shape of a smile).

The Blood Orange Blossom

I'm returning to say a little more about this excellent Gin & Tonic variation. Blood orange is a richer juice than your naval orange and goes very well with tonic--if you can get it! Then it is a simple matter of using 1 ounce of juice before you top with tonic. 
  • 1.5 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. juice of a blood orange
  • tonic
  • blood orange slice
Combine gin and juice in a highball or double Old Fashioned glass full of ice. Top with tonic and stir. Garnish with blood orange slice.

The Balmoral Martini


  • 2 oz. Bombay (Sapphire pictured) Gin
  • A dash of dry vermouth
  • Several dashes of blended scotch
Shake above ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Float several dashes of blended scotch on top, and twist lemon peel into the glass.

Classic Martinez

This is the precursor to the Martini and as such, there is high vermouth to gin ratio. That is because the gins of prohibition era were strong and a little disagreeable in terms of flavor. This drinks is best balanced with Old Tom gin, a vintage style of gin with a full body and robust flavor.

  • 1 1/2 oz. Old Tom gin and sweet vermouth
  • 1 1/2 oz. of equal parts sweet and dry vermouth
  • 1 dash of bitters
  • 1 dash of cherry liqueur
  • Garnish with a lemon twist
 Combine vermouth and gin in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add bitters and cherry liqueur and garnish with twist.